Tariq Abu Khdeir: More officers should face justice for my beating

Israel files assault charges against a police officer filmed beating the 15-year-old American teenager; Tariq and his family demand two other Israeli police officers face justice for their involvement in the beating earlier this summer.

Tariq Abu Khdeir speaks about his beating at a CAIR panel in the U.S. (Screenshot, CAIR)
Tariq Abu Khdeir speaks about his beating at a CAIR panel in the U.S. (Screenshot, CAIR)

The Israeli police officer who was filmed beating unconscious a 15-year-old Palestinian-American boy in Jerusalem in July has been charged with assaulting a minor.

An internal police investigation found evidence “supporting the guilt of the police officer suspected of severe violent crimes,” according to Israel’s Justice Ministry.

The teen, Tariq Abu Khdeir, said at a press conference in Florida yesterday, he thinks two more Israeli officers should be facing charges in his beating.

“I hope everyone, every officer that took part in my beating is taken to justice,” he said.

Khdeir was arrested during East Jerusalem protests following the abduction and brutal murder of his cousin, 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir, which came after the abduction and murder of three Israeli teenagers in the West Bank.

Tariq Abu Khdeir’s beating was caught on video, which shows the accused officer and additional officers arresting the boy, with one policeman apparently sitting on Khdeir to handcuff the boy while the accused officer is seen kicking and punching the boy repeatedly. A third officer is also seen helping drag Abu Khdeir toward a police vehicle, during which time the accused officer again kicks the boy who appears to be unconscious.

“These criminal charges are long overdue and we are troubled that the other officers involved in the beating have yet to face any form of justice,” Hassan Shibly, the Abu Khdeir family’s attorney in Florida and executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations Florida, said in a statement.

According to the indictment, the other officers “did not attack the boy, nor could [they] have prevented it, and therefore were excluded from the suit,” Ynet reported. The name of the accused officer is under gag order.

Tariq said he was watching the protests, three days after his cousin was killed, and trying to get away from the violence between Israeli police and protestors when he was chased by three officers, beaten and arrested.

Israeli police said the 15 year old took part in the protests, resisted arrested and was carrying a slingshot to throw stones. He was held for three days by Israeli authorities before being released under pressure from the U.S. government.

American citizen Tarek Abu Khdeir, 15, after being beaten by Israeli police. (Photos provided to Addameer by the Abu Khdeir family.)
American citizen Tariq Abu Khdeir, 15, after being beaten by Israeli police. (Photos provided to Addameer by the Abu Khdeir family.)

Shibly said he and the Abu Khdeir family were “troubled that many of Tariq’s relatives continue to be incarcerated by Israeli police without charge in apparent retaliation for the publicity the Khdeir case generated.”

“After another cousin of the slain East Jerusalem teenager [Mohammed Abu Khdeir] was arrested on July 28, also a U.S. citizen, the State Department accused Israel of ‘singling out’ his relatives,” Times of Israel reported.

Suha Abu Khdeir, the boy’s mother, said it was “a shame that in order for [Israeli authorities] to take action it had to be an American citizen that this happened to.”

Abu Khdeir, the bruises on his face now healed two months after the beating, said he was grateful that the incident was caught on video and for being American — the two most likely reasons that charges were filed against the Israeli officer at all.

“I just want justice for what the Israeli police did to me and I don’t want this happening to . . . anyone else, especially children,” he said.

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Tariq Abu Khdeir wasn’t the first and he won’t be the last